U.S insists recount must be a ‘clean process’; says policy on Guyana has not changed

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High ranking officials of the United States Department of State continue to adumbrate U.S policy on Guyana’s electoral process, insisting that it must be completed in a credible and transparent manner.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is currently conducting a recount of votes cast in the March 02, 2020 elections following objections to the initial tabulations and consequent declarations made for the country’s largest voting district – Region Four.

Director of Caribbean Affairs of the Western Hemisphere, Katherine Dueholm said the State Department has received “good initial reports of the recount” from its Ambassador to Guyana Sarah Ann Lynch.

She was at the time responding to queries on a webinar on Wednesday (May 6) from the Diaspora group, Guyana International Inclusive Alliance (GIIA) who called for the US to make its policy clear on Guyana’s electoral process.

Repeated statements from the State Department have asserted that the United States will only recognise the next Government in Guyana as legitimate if it is declared from a credible and transparent electoral process.

Director of Caribbean Affairs of the Western Hemisphere, Katherine Dueholm

GIIA said the U.S threat of sanctions if this is not done seemed to be a departure from its longstanding policy on Guyana.

In what she called ‘correcting perceptions’ Dueholm said the U.S has no preference in the outcome of Guyana’s elections except that it represents the will of the Guyanese people.

“We are pro-democracy and sometimes people like how that works out and sometimes they don’t…and that illustrates why some persons feel like the decisions we have taken maybe not in keeping with what they would hope to see but it is in keeping with supporting democracy,” she said.

She said the U.S is happy with polling but concerned with developments during the tabulation process after March 2.

Dueholm is in charge of policy in Guyana and said the State Department has expended a lot of resources trying to make the elections fair and transparent.

She explained that support was provided through a US$500,000 to bring the International Republican Institute to give support to the electoral process and more funds were invested after the elections to help with continued youth engagement in democracy.

The Director said the U.S has a genuine interest in working with whatever Government comes out of the process.

“We had lined up a roust program for the next Government and had a high level teamed lined up to come to Guyana for the swearing-in of the Government. We are prepared to embrace legitimate results and remain committed to embracing credible electoral process,” she added.

Dueholm was keen to point out that the U.S is not unfamiliar with the developments on the ground, noting that she is aware of the bias of statements and persons making those statements. To this end, she was confident that truth can be discerned.

She said it was clear that the tabulation process of the March 2 votes did not follow the laws of Guyana.

“It is very clear, it is not a matter of speculation, it is not a matter of looking at partisan statements; it is using Guyana’s developed standards and witnessing the departure from that and that is when we became concerned and believe we must speak out and that is what we have done,” she added.

Dueholm said there is no imposition by the United States in the electoral process of Guyana.

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